Grand Bahama is the closest of the main Bahamian islands to the coast of Florida and the Freeport suburb of Lucaya is one of its top attractions. The Grand Lucayan Golf Resort sprawls over 382 acres and its two 18-hole courses have hosted a number of Caribbean championships over the last half century.
The Dick Wilson-designed Lucayan course dates back to 1962 and it’ was set out over a heavily wooded landscape, but the course is now closed. The Reef is a Robert Trent Jones Jnr layout that lies beside the Yacht Club on a more open part of the property and its fairways are generally wide and forgiving – indeed, there are only 57 bunkers in total to be negotiated.
Thirteen of the holes are influenced by water hazards, nowhere more so than at three of the short holes; the 185-yard 4th, the 150-yard 14th and the 160-yard 17th. The long par fives at the 2nd and 13th are also flanked by water, as is the 430-yard home hole.
The Reef course may not be one of the architect’s very best efforts but it’s still capable of delivering a very engaging game of golf, especially when the layout is presented in optimum condition.
Hurricane Dorian seriously impacted Grand Bahama Island in September 2019 with 60% of the island left submerged by the time Dorian moved away. The Grand Lucayan Resort served as a temporary shelter for displaced island residents in the storm’s aftermath. To complicate matters a sale agreement of the Grand Lucayan Resort between the government and Bahamas Port Investments Limited has still not closed.
As the island slowly returns
to normality, it’s advisable to check ahead before travelling. It remains to be seen whether or not the Reef course will re-open for play.
I hired RTJII to build the REEF, Ty Butler his associate did most of the work and they created a fun resort course, good par threes. Several holes take advantage of the “ridge” Freeport’s highest 29’ ridge. Built on original Bahama Reef Course, the REEF is open and one of Grand Bahamas survivors.